First Sentence: Blackwater Hall seemed to hover like a bird of prey over the river estuary whose name it held in its eager talons.
Norman-born soldier Sir Ralph Delchaird and Briton/Saxon lawyer, Gervase Bret, along with two clerics, travel to the Esex town of Maldon to investigate possible land-transfer irregularities for King William and the Domesday Book. The eldest son of FitzCorbucion of Blackwood Hall, the family suspected of illegal dealings, has been murdered. His younger brother is certain of the murderer; Delchaird and a married priest in the town, are less convinced.
The first thing I appreciated about this about this book, and the series, is that each incident is based an actual entry in the Domesday Book.
The difference between the two men's backgrounds, both in origin and experience, gives good contrast and makes them a great team. The book has delightful humor which offsets the occasional violence and darkness of the period.
Marston conveys the period well; he certainly doesn't pretty it up at all. In fact, to me, the sign of an author who has done his research and whose books are historically accurate is when you read books by other authors set in the same period and all their facts mesh.
The story is well done and kept involved from the first page to the very last. I highly recommend it for any who loves history, mysteries, and/or both.
THE RAVENS OF BLACKWATER (Hist. Mys-Ralph Delchard/Gervase Bret-England-1000s) - VG
Marston, Edward - 2nd in series
St. Martin's Press, 1994, US Hardcover - ISBN: 0312113307